- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2017

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

Four straight home runs.

At any given moment, the Nationals offense can remind everyone it’s among baseball’s best. But Thursday, Washington’s firepower was unbelievable, even by their standards.

The Nationals hit five dingers in the third inning — four of them from consecutive batters — and eight total in a 15-2 clubbing of the Milwaukee Brewers. The eight home runs tied a franchise record.

“Well I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve seen back-to-back-to-back but not four in a row. It’s like you almost can’t believe it.”

Washington had demonstrated its offensive explosiveness as recently as Wednesday, scoring seven runs in the eighth inning for a come-from-behind victory. But what happened over 25 minutes Thursday during the third inning was historic.

Five homers in an inning tied an MLB record. Four straight tied a record for most consecutive.

The Brewers pitcher responsible was starter Michael Blazek. Blazek, per FanRag Sports’ Robert Murray, had only allowed 13 home runs in 120.2 innings of his career prior to the game. By the time he exited Thursday after allowing six, he nearly doubled his mark.

The explosion started with Brian Goodwin homering to right to score himself and pitcher Max Scherzer.

Then Wilmer Difo sent one out of the park. Bryce Harper stepped to the plate and did the same — his second of the day after a two-run homer in the first. And for good measure, Ryan Zimmerman sent a first-pitch slider to left center field.

Zimmerman said he was unaware his home run made it four straight.

“I honestly didn’t,” he said. “I looked over at Goody and I went, ‘is that four home runs in a row?’ I don’t know. I was just watching everyone hit home runs. I’m just glad I put a good swing.”

Somehow, Blazek was allowed to stay in the game and Daniel Murphy proceeded to fly out — for just the first out of the inning. The Nationals crowd booed Murphy for not making it five in a row.

“Tough crowd,” Zimmerman said.

Hot-hitting Anthony Rendon, who is batting sixth in the lineup — right where the team needs him, Nationals manager Dusty Baker explained recently — then hit another home run, and Blazek was finally pulled.

Before the inning was finally over, catcher Jose Lobaton had an RBI double to make it 9-0.

“It was fun,” Harper said. “We got a lineup that could possibly do some special things. With the guys we have in this lineup right now, anything can happen.”

And there was still more baseball to be played.

In the fourth inning, the Nationals tacked on two more homers and six runs. Zimmerman had his second blast of the game and tied a D.C. record for most home runs with 237. Later on, Lobaton carried a two-seam fastball into right field to make it 15-1.

The Brewers‘ two runs came on two solo — who would have guessed? — home runs.

MLB Statcast tracks the distance of each home run and the Nationals‘ eight home runs traveled a combined total of 3,285 feet — just over a half mile’s worth.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Nationals‘ outing was that Scherzer, in his last start, had given up back-to-back-to-back home runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks last Friday.

It was an uncharacteristic outing for Scherzer, who returned to form against the Brewers, recording his 200th strikeout of the season on his 33rd birthday. He now has six straight seasons of 200-plus punchouts. Scherzer is the only player in baseball with that active streak.

“I think (catcher Matt) Wieters had the perfect line for that, it’s like anybody can give up back-to-back-to-back,” Scherzer said. “That’s special to go four in a row.”

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